A Nation of Toddlers

America is perhaps the most infantile culture in the world. We are a nation of toddlers shouting “Me first,” and “Mine, mine, mine!” Americans are some of the most spoiled, entitled, selfish humans on the planet. Patience seems not to exist. Sharing, taking turns, putting others in front of the self, these are behaviors of maturity, and our culture regards them with disdain.

Nowhere is this more immediately evident than on the road. Someone inadvertently cuts in front another driver and the person whom they displaced acts as if they grabbed their toy from the sand box and ran with it. You turn on your turn signal to change lanes and the cars beside you speed up to ensure you don’t get in. Everyone is in a race to be first, to be in front, and any action that thwarts this desire is seen as a personal affront.

Rationality is the ability to make rational choices, thinking through the consequences and taking actions that make rational sense. Adults are able to distinguish between the feeling process and the intellectual process and have the ability to choose between having one’s functioning guided by feelings or by thoughts.

People living within a child’s frame of reference often overreact emotionally to events that are insignificant in the overall scheme of their lives, and fail to respond to events that are important or crucial to their well-being.

The life of a child is helpless and powerless. It is a place of inequality, fear, and paranoia. As a child, anyone can control and overrun you. As an adult you own your life and destiny. If you remain a child in your adult life, you look at the world around you as dominating, controlling, and dangerous. America views the world from this childlike view. We are the most militarized nation in the history of the world, seeing everything and everyone as a possible enemy, and every action as a possible threat. (Or at the very least this is the excuse offered to the nation of children by the totalitarian toddlers who seek to amass the greatest pile of toys in the sandbox.)

It is evident in gun culture: I don’t like the way you looked at me, I think you threatened me, I’ll pull out my gun and shoot you, and in many places in the country, this is acceptable.

It is evident in America’s level of debt: I want what I want when I want it, even if I can’t afford it, and the nation itself wants what it wants when it wants it, even if it can’t afford it. It will also spend to maximize the profits of a few while ignoring the needs of the majority.

It is evident in the media that will only tell us the story the tellers want us to hear, like paternalistic parents ensuring we get the story that will not result in a tantrum.

It is evident in our approach to politics. We believe what we want to hear, and accept the tropes of the politicians, believing the speeches and ignoring the actions, constantly seeking that which instantly gratifies us and makes us believe everything is okay even when it is not.

It is evident even in our approach to art and culture. Spectacle wins; quality is meaningless. Americans are like small children witnessing fireworks, completely unable to comprehend an exquisite work of literature or art.

It is evident in our unwillingness to see what is happening across the world as the oceans are acidifying, the poles are melting, the trees are dying, the coral reefs are withering, creatures are becoming extinct at an unparalleled rate, and human populations are increasing to untenable levels. The end is near, but damn, we don’t want to know about it. Turn on the Avengers, the American version of Barney, pull the blanket over your head, stick your thumb in your mouth, and just pretend everything is a-ok.

I could go on and on.

It is as if in gradually finding ways to make life “easier,” in giving up the ability to learn to find and store food, to house and clothe ourselves, to learn to keep warm in the outdoors, and to coexist with the planet on which we were created, we have given up the ability to be fully adult and actually, fully human.

 

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Tenuous Connection

This article was published on Huffington Post and can be seen here. Regular readers of my blog will recognize it as part of what I wrote yesterday.

Tenuous Connection

How will you and I connect if there is no electricity? How will you and I connect if there are no phones? How will a world made of 9 billion people exist when the only means of communication is the same as that which was available in 1850 (or 1750, when there was no postal service)? What if we no longer have motorized transport in most of the world? We would be stuck with our legs, or bicycles. Where would all of this leave us, back in some-distant-past BC because so few people know how to ride horses or use animals to pull wagons? In this, the third world has already outpaced us. How quickly the strands of our amorphously tangled web of connection would fall away if there was nothing to give us the power to connect with one other as we do in the modern world.

Human “leaders” seem hell bent on war and destruction, and it is not implausible their actions could lead to nuclear war. Fukishima is leaking and we can’t stop it. Weather patterns have changed so drastically it is not just possible, but highly probable that many major catastrophic weather events will occur in the near future.

Finish this article by clicking here.

Hypocrisy and Audacity: Welcome to the USA

Am I an American?  Is our country for real? I am appalled at our audacity.  Condoleeza stands up and tells the Russians that it is not 1968, that countries do not invade other countries, take over their capitals, and overthrow their governments?  I heard a recording of these words coming out of this woman’s mouth.  Does the word HYPOCRISY mean anything to anyone anymore?  The radio reported this like it’s just news.  No one gasped in shock at the irony.  No one commented.  On what planet do we all live on that her statement makes the news but not the meaning behind her words?

The radio announcer went on to say the US is dismayed at reported human rights abuses.  Again, are we joking?  The USA, the progenitor of modern torture techniques, is dismayed the Russia may be perpetrating human rights abuses?  The USA, who has done NOTHING in Darfur and other places where masses of human rights abuses are committed on a daily basis, is dismayed?  Are we joking?

The arrogance of our government is astounding.  I am utterly appalled.  Why do we continue to put up with this? Why is the mass of our population so blinded to the realities of this administration?  When will we stop putting up with the lies, the hypocrisy, the violence, all of it?  I can see it now:  it is a few years hence.  We all have chips implanted into our necks.  We are all being herded hither and thither among various shopping centers.  We can’t buy what we want because we don’t have jobs or money or homes.  The government, angered that we aren’t buying, turns off our chips, making it impossible to go anywhere or do anything because the chips are required to operate a car, ride a bus, fly on a plane, do anything.  Then we start to cry we cannot believe this is happening to us.

Welcome to the future people.  It’s happening now.  You can believe it and try to change things or poke your head back into your bible, blind yourself in front of the advertising machine, or numb your brain with substances.  We are responsible for the state we are in.  This is supposedly a democracy (though I think valid arguments could be made against this assumption).  If it is a democracy, then we are responsible for the people running the show.  We decide whether we will allow this to continue, indeed that it has happened at all.  Americans are responsible for what we have become.  Ultimately, Americans are responsible for where we end up.  Do we want to be arrogant monsters who are hypocritical in everything they say or do?  Because that is where we are.  The question is whether we are going to stand up, grow up, and take responsibility to change things before we destroy ourselves and our planet.